Tourism industry professionals, travel bloggers, writers and content media creators had a feast day when the Department of Tourism (DOT) and Tourism Promotions Board (TPB), in coordination with NMX Events, brought the Travel Blog Exchange (TBEX) Asia-Pacific 2016 delegates to Pampanga, considered the culinary center of the Philippines.
The contingent was served lechon, sisig, an array of grilled fish, prawns, squids, clams and some Kapampangan native delicacies such as barquillos, turones, kutsinta, halo-halo, rice cakes including bibingka, cassava cake, and puto.
Tropical fruits like mangoes, rambutan, lanzones and marang were a hit to the visitors. Calamansi, in particular, was a surprise to the delegates for its versatility – from a refreshing fruit drink to an additional flavor to condiments.
To complete the Filipino food experience, Pampanga’s exotic foods including balut, pako or fern salad, and sea urchin were also served.
“I find it very interesting that the Filipino cuisine is influenced by so many other cultures and it creates a fascinating mix,” said Maria Haase who travelled all the way from Germany.
“This food trip was very interesting and inspiring for me,” she added.
Boodle feasts added fun to Filipino meals, with participants not just shared food but interacted with one another as well. Trying Filipino dishes in this unique way was something first-time visitors found enjoyable.
“This is such a simple pleasure to enjoy. It’s amazing that we get the time to eat together. I love this kind of culture,” said Chicago-native Rosemary Kimani.
The delegates were then ushered to Binondo, Manila to experience Chinese culinary influence on Filipino food.
TBEX Asia Pacific 2016 was made possible with the support of Philippine Airlines, Globe Telecom, Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA), and Duty Free Philippines. Other sponsors included Amorita Resort, The Lind Boracay, Fort Ilocandia Resort Hotel, Limketkai Luxe Hotel, Shangri-La’s Boracay Resort and Spa, Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort & Spa, Pearl Farm Beach Resort, Primer Group of Companies,
The Funny Lion Palawan, Merrell Philippines, Lakan, Banana Peel, Le Spa at Sofitel, Park Inn by Radisson, Hotel Luna, Bluewater Maribago Resort and Spa, Sonya’s Garden, Museo Orlina, and Grab Philippines.
The event was also made possible through the participation of volunteers from the University of the Philippines, Centro Escolar University, University of Santo Tomas, and Philippine Women’s University.
The amazing variety of food – from savory dishes to sweet delicacies, and the wide array of fresh ingredients and diverse cultural influences – make the Philippines truly an exciting culinary destination.